Minimum Wage Increase – Will It Help or Hurt?

The law of unintended consequences often strikes in situations where the intent is to do good, but the result actually hurts. The minimum wage increases around the country are an example of this.

Just yesterday I was talking to a client who will be affected by the minimum wage increases in Oregon. This client has treated their employees exceptionally well. They participate in community training programs, support local colleges that train workers in their industry, cooperate actively with ex-prisoner training and hiring programs and have a very team-oriented workplace. Now, because of increased costs created by Oregon’s minimum wage increase, they’re facing automation, lights-out operations and a greater focus on the higher paid positions in the company. They’re planning to lay off about 20% of their workforce, almost exclusively in the low-end jobs and ex-prisoner positions, hurting the very workers that the minimum wage increase was supposed to help.

Our politicians, leaders, company executives and managers always need to consider the risks of doing things to make sure the law of unintended consequences doesn’t lead to bad results.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved.

Strong Processes Help Retention

Most people think of good processes leading to increased profitability, reducing waste, improving service levels and more, but did you ever consider that great processes help attract and keep great people? Strong processes set the boundaries for performance, expectations of execution and standard work, leading to consistent outcomes.

Great process can do even more when it comes to the people involved. Process:

  • Helps on-board new people quickly
  • Creates an organized environment the reduces frustration
  • Helps people feel more valuable and contributory
  • Gives people opportunity for improvement
  • Broadens people’s value to the company

Strong process can create an environment and reputation that attracts and keeps the best people. Great people are an absolute requirement to accelerate profit and growth.

© 2016 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved


Are Your Employees Disruptive Enough?

Does your company ask its employees to share their ideas? One of the keys to accelerating profit and growth is soliciting creative input from employees. World Class Manufacturing, the predecessor to Lean Thinking, was a three-legged stool of Just In Time, Total Quality and Total Employee Involvement, which included seeking input form employees at all levels and acting on their ideas.

A recent article in IndustryWeek revealed that airbag manufacturer Takata’s engineers knew as early as 2000 that there were problems with its airbags and warned management, but few (if any) managers listened. The company has now been fined over $200 million, eight people have lost their lives and many others have been injured. Asking employees for their ideas and input and actually listening could have saved not only profit, but lives.

To accelerate profit and growth, you need to put engaged employees with the right knowledge and skills in the right positions and then listen to them. You might avoid major problems, or better, you might discover a disruptive idea that becomes the rocket fuel for your profitability and growth.

© 2015 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved



Good Work Deserves Recognition…Now

Companies spend a lot of time looking for good people. Don’t ignore the ones that are already on the team…you may lose them before you know it.

An acquaintance recently resigned from their job due in part to being significantly undervalued by the company based on market salary surveys. Management had declined to give the employee a raise to what they clearly deserved because “it isn’t in the budget.”

When the person went into the CEO’s office to resign, the CEO seemed shocked. He pleaded for the person to stay, saying that it was on the board agenda to promote them to manager and give them a raise. Clearly the employee was going to leave a very big hole in the office. The CEO said that because of this person’s contribution, for the first time in seven years, he could actually focus on what he needed to do.

Leaders can hold on to valuable employees by…

1) Making fairness and an inviting work environment part of the organization’s culture

2) Recognizing top contributors more than just at annual reviews

3) Investing in good people. Budget is a matter of priority and top team members should be high on the list.

© 2015 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Sometimes It’s the Emotion

Consultants, Lean experts, managers and executives often get wrapped up in the process. They focus on improvements, introducing controls, reducing expenses, increasing revenues and improving the business overall. But despite the intense focus, the improvement processes don’t last and can even hit a brick wall. Why?

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s – before Lean entered the popular lexicon – World Class Manufacturing was the buzzword of the day. It was a three-legged stool – Total Quality Management, Just In Time and Total Employee Involvement. The Total Employee Involvement, in my opinion, was the magic elixir that yielded extraordinary and sustainable results.

When mid-market company improvement efforts stall, the root cause can often be traced to fears on the part of executives, managers or employees. They’re asking themselves, “What does this mean for me? What do I do when my job changes? Will I be left behind? Are the results too big for me to handle?”

Fear of the unknown and fear of change can be powerful impediments to process improvement, leadership development, succession planning, strategy, etc. If you don’t address the fears, you’ll likely find that change is not sustainable, if it begins at all.

Have your addressed the fears in your organization? Have you bridged the emotional gaps that might be present? And don’t forget about your own.

© 2015 – Rick Pay All Rights Reserved

Keep Your Nose To The Wind

Recently I sat at my dinette table watching my dog out the window. He was sitting in the sun sniffing at the wind. I could see his nose bob just a bit as he sniffed, and his head swung back and forth as he explored his surroundings through his sense of smell.

Dogs’ noses are somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more acute than humans. They say dogs don’t smell the stew, they smell the meat, the carrots, the celery, the spices (each individually I expect) and every other ingredient. I suspect he could smell the dogs that walked down the sidewalk with their masters, the squirrels in the trees and the various wild animals that frequent the common area across the street. A big world presented itself to him simply by his keeping his nose to the wind.

Companies can see the wider world if executives keep their noses to the wind as well. While we may not be able to smell as well as dogs, by using things such as key performance measures, reading news and trade publications and talking with our employees, peers, industry colleagues, and even outside consultants we can see what is going by and coming at us soon enough to prepare and exploit many opportunities.

Check out the Tools and Media pages for more ways to keep your nose to the wind.

© 2014 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved

Treat Temps as Part of the Team

Many companies today use temporary workers to supplement their workforce. This can be a very effective way to flex both up and down as customer demand changes. I currently have clients who use temps to make up from 5% to 50% of their workforce. However, many of these same clients do not recognize their temporary workers as a key part of their teams. They often don’t include them in company and team meetings, they don’t measure their performance and they won’t allow them to hold positions such as team leader.

Equal Expectations, Equal Treatment

If you use temps, which you should, you need to consider them as equals to company employees in all situations except possibly exposing them to key financial information. You rely on temps to produce quality workmanship with productivity equal to your regular employees. How can they do that when they don’t attend team meetings or are treated as second-class citizens?

I have one client that was beginning a vital change management process but wouldn’t allow temps to attend team meetings or hold leadership positions even though they had been on board for many months (some for more than a year, which is another issue) and in some cases, held roles equivalent to managers.

Investing in Temps

If you expect your temporary workers to produce results equal to your regular employees, treat them the same. Allow them to hold team leadership positions when qualified and to participate in team and company meetings so they stay informed. This will keep them excited about their potential with your company and may make their eventual hiring much easier. You never know where a vital employee will come from.

© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved